Words of wisdom

G.H Hardy on why professors shouldn’t be over-modest. Not one of my problems.

From G.H. Hardy, A Mathematician’s Apology:

It is one of the first duties of a professor, in any subject, to exaggerate a little both the importance of his subject and his own importance in it.

My students will agree that this is one duty I perform with diligence.

Footnote If you haven’t read Hardy’s memoir, you have a treat in store.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

4 thoughts on “Words of wisdom”

    1. Sample: Littlewood (who very often published with Hardy) reports a first meeting with someone, who said to him “Oh, you actually exist! I thought you were just a pseudonym that Hardy put on his weaker papers.”

  1. Ah, but the sentence you quote merely states the obvious to set the scene. The real words of wisdom, I would submit, lay in the conclusion of the paragraph.

  2. Hardy was a master of self-deprecation. According to Paul Erdos he would occasionally compare himself to other mathemeticians on a 100-point scale: for pure talent he gave himself 25, J.E. Littlewood 30, David Hilbert 80, and Srinivasa Ramanujan (his own protege) 100.

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